IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Race Report

September 6, 2020


Track:    Road Atlanta
Race:     Grand Prix at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta
Date:     September 5, 2020

 
No. 6 Acura ARX-05 DPi – Dane Cameron/Juan Pablo Montoya
Start: 3rd
Overall Finish: 6th
Class Finish: 6th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 265/273

Recap:

  • Saturday's six-hour IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship endurance race at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta was bookended by incidents not of their own making for Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya. In between, however, they raced masterfully to place the No. 6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 team in position for a win before the final blow forced them to retire early.
  • Following a difficult start to the practice sessions on Friday morning, Cameron joined his Acura Team Penske teammate, Helio Castroneves, in surprising the field by in qualifying by securing the third starting position.
  • Unfortunately, Cameron was hit by the No. 31 Cadillac as the field was taking the green flag on Saturday morning, resulting in a spin that brought him down pit road for fresh tires when the caution was displayed.
  • A six-hour race provides plenty of time to come back from an early incident, and on lap 48 the No. 6 Acura team found themselves in the lead, a place they would routinely cycle in and out of during pit stops.
  • Once pit strategies evened out, Montoya was able to hold down the second position behind their teammates in the No. 7 before dropping to third prior to a pit stop on lap 249. Upon entering pit road, the No. 10 Cadillac made heavy contact to the rear of the No. 6 Acura that resulted in a longer pit stop due to needing a fresh rear wing.
  • With just under 12 minutes to go and Montoya holding down a top-five position, he was involved in a multi-car incident with the No. 5 Cadillac and a Ferrari GTD, with the Acura receiving the worst of the damage, forcing the team out of the event on lap 265. However, with only two laps of green-flag racing following the caution period, the duo was able to salvage a sixth-place finish.

 
Quote:
"Racing at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta is intense in the 10-hour Petit Le Mans, so we knew it would be ramped up for a six-hour race. It showed before we ever got to the first corner with our contact with the No. 31 Cadillac, but the team did an amazing job in bouncing back from that. I feel it was easily going to end with a podium for this No. 6 Acura ARX-05 team – if not challenging for the win – but the contact coming on to pit road put an end to that. From there, not much to say about the incident with the GTD and the 5 car. Still, it was a strong team effort today and we know that our cars are well suited for Mid-Ohio, so we feel confident going into the next race."
- Dane Cameron
 

No. 7 Acura ARX-05 DPi – Helio Castroneves/Ricky Taylor
Start: 1st
Overall Finish: 1st
Class Finish: 1st
Status:  Running
Laps Completed: 273/273

Recap: 

  • Helio Castroneves fought back from two penalties on the first pit stop of the day for the No. 7 Acura ARX-05 DPi to close out the second-consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC) victory for he and teammate Ricky Taylor in Saturday's six-hour endurance race at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
  • After a surprising run to the pole position on Friday evening, Castroneves held the lead until a lap 16 caution period that allowed race strategist Tim Cindric to bring him to pit road. Unfortunately, the Brazilian driving ace was penalized for speeding upon pit road entry and for running a red light on pit road exit.
  • When the race went back under the green flag Castroneves was forced to serve a drive-through penalty plus a 60-second hold for the two infractions, which dropped him to eighth in the running order and one lap down.
  • A caution flag on lap 48 gave the No. 7 Acura team the opportunity to take the free pass to move back onto the lead lap before quickly calling Castroneves to pit road for a driver change to Taylor prior to the action resuming.
  • Taylor, a former IWSC champion, was able to produce consistent, solid laps to gradually claw the team back into contention. He was able to maneuver around his race-leading teammate, Dane Cameron, on lap 216 when the duo hit heavy lapped traffic.
  • Castroneves returned to the cockpit on lap 248 and he was able to easily pull away from the No. 55 Mazda on a two-lap shootout to end the race to score the first endurance victory in the three-year history of Acura Team Penske.
  • The next race for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on September 27, a race that Acura Team Penske has won two years running. 

Quote:  
"We've been fighting back all year it seems and today was just a synopsis of our season. Today we had to come from a lap down after a nightmare of a start to the race. Mistakes are so easy to have happen. We've all sped on pit road. When Helio got back in the car I told my brother (Jordan) that Helio was angry. He fought so hard – as did the entire team – for the entire six hours of the race. He made it look easy for a two-driver lineup against some of the teams that had four."
- Ricky Taylor